Patrick is 3 years old! I love birthday parties, and we have been looking forward to this event for months. Really… Patrick has been asking for a “bug party” for his 3rd birthday since last spring. He loves insects; he loves to read about them, watch the movie MicroCosmos, and look at them at museums. We need to take our “junior entomologist” to the Insectarium in New Orleans once the twins and I are mobile enough to make a day of it. For now the big event was a Birthday Bug Safari! We invited family and hosted it at our house in an attempt to keep the party “small” with Patrick’s nine cousins.
The party was two weeks ago, ahead of his birthday, because I didn’t want the twins to make a surprise appearance. I’m glad we had the party when I was one day shy of 33 weeks pregnant instead of this weekend. I was much more capable and mobile just two weeks ago.
In the carport we set out tables, chairs, and everything for pizza lunch. I decorated with yellow and green plastic tablecloths; yellow, green, and orange hanging balloons; yellow, green, and orange paper goods; and plastic bugs, bug houses, nets, and toy magnifying glasses. I prefer to make his birthday cakes myself, but opted to save my hands from pregnancy-carpal-tunnel woes by buying the cake this year. I described my idea of a life-like bug scene to Baum’s bakery and provided them with a set of nice plastic bugs. Baum’s did a wonderful job with his cake, and we were all thrilled with how great it looked and how delicious it tasted!
We had a great turnout of 28 members of our immediate family. (See why we moved to Baton Rouge when we found out about the twins?!) I love that Patrick can celebrate special events with his grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins!
After lunch, it was time to go on a BUG SAFARI in the backyard. Our birthday gift to Patrick was a set of real bugs each encased in lucite. Using six of those bugs, I made a small field guide book for Patrick and his cousins. On each page was a picture of a bug, the bug’s common and scientific names, and a place to stamp the page when they found the bug. For the party I placed the six bugs at “viewing stations” around the backyard. A safari is not complete without a personalized pith helmet and magnifying glass, so every kiddo got those too.
Every expedition needs a few good photos to document the adventure. Look at this adorable group of “junior entomologists” with their helmets, field guides, and magnifying glasses!
I explained that we were entomologists going on an adventure to identify bugs. I told the crew that each viewing station had one bug, and it was our task to look at the field guide and figure out what kind of bug we found. Once we discovered which bug it was, they would get a butterfly stamp on that page in their books.
I knew Patrick would enjoy this activity, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from the rest of the mostly 4-year-old crew. I was delighted that they LOVED it! They got really into the adventure, running from station to station to identify the next bug. And they did a great job! They identified every bug and filled their field guides full of stamps. Here’s a video clip of the action:
After the safari it was time to light three candles, sing “Happy Birthday”, and enjoy cake and ice cream.
Then we opened his presents. He got several wonderful bug books including an autographed copy of C.C. Lockwood’s Louisiana Nature Guide for kids. He received great science toys like a bug puzzle, a “butterfly in a jar”, a set of planets, outer space pajamas, a talking microscope, toy dinosaurs, Alphie the robot, and a big tin of Lincoln Logs. He also got fun toys to play outside: a scooter, a mini tennis racquet and balls, and a T-ball set. What a lucky fella! We appreciate all of the wonderful gifts and especially thank his North Carolina friends who sent him cards and gifts.
The T-ball set was put to use right away and was the perfect way to end the party festivities.
In addition to the helmet, field guide, and magnifying glass, I sent each kiddo home with a bug net, a bug house, and a small collection of plastic bugs. This week Patrick helped me write thank you notes and decorate them with butterfly stamps and crayons.
What a great celebration for our precious three-year-old. Birthday parties are my chance to be a camp counselor for the day, so I loved every minute of it as much as Patrick did. Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate!
See more pictures of the party here: Patrick’s 3rd Birthday Party on SmugMug